Firefighters battled a massive fire on Aberdeen’s Broadway Hill for hours on Wednesday night, losing most of the house but saving all the homes nearby. The elderly woman living there was helped out of the home by a caregiver.
The fire at 721 N. Broadway started around 8:30 p.m. Neighbors reported hearing strange popping noises coming from the house and said that when they looked outside to investigate, saw flames shooting at least 50 feet into the sky from the garage. Officials said two people were in the house when the fire started, the home’s resident Jean Druzianich, 86, and her caregiver, whose name was not released.
Druzianich is a well-known member of the community. Her husband, Al, was a well-known real estate agent who died several years ago.
Carolyn Kramer, 64, of 109 W. Eighth St., said she was watching television with her husband when the fire started. The smoke detector in their home, which is behind the Druzianich home, was going off, but she couldn’t figure out why.
“Then we heard a pop and I said, ‘What’s that noise?’ I didn’t see anything really and then I saw the light coming from the garage and told my husband, ‘It’s really weird it’s light outside but there’s a fog going by.’ And he said, ‘I bet that’s a fire.’ And sure enough it started popping.”
The home was a single-story ranch style house. Officials said the fire originated in the garage but have yet to find the source.
“The garage was totally involved when we got here,” said Aberdeen Fire Chief Dave Carlberg. “The first unit on scene reported a fully engulfed garage. It was already getting into the house.”
Two other departments worked with the Aberdeen department to attack the fire, the Hoquiam Fire Department and the Cosmopolis Volunteer Fire Department.
No firefighters were injured.
Firefighters surrounded the house and began attacking the fire through different vantage points; some breaking into the attic of the home with others working on the roof or through what was left of the garage. A crowd of a least a hundred spectators gathered around the house to watch the fire. The smoke and flames could been seen across Aberdeen.
Officials with the fire department estimate that $488,476 worth of damage was done to the home and its contents. The house next to the Druzianich home, owned by Bob and Margo Shortt, sustained $7,000 of damage when vinyl siding melted. Margo Shortt is an Aberdeen City Council member and found out about the fire as the council meeting was breaking up.
“We’ve been here since 1979, and (the Druzianiches) came here a few months after us,” Kramer said. “She’s lived in this area for a long time and her husband passed away about six years ago. She’s had a caregiver since then. They’re really nice people and it’s really sad to see this happening to them,” Kramer said.
Nancy Mariano, Druzianich’s daughter, said she was grateful in spite of the loss. “I am just thankful everyone got out alive.”